Mauricio Pochettino was satisfied with the effort put in by his Paris Saint-Germain team against Saint-Etienne, but knows there are lots of improvements to make.

PSG laboured to a 1-1 draw in Pochettino's opening game in charge, with the former Tottenham boss having replaced Thomas Tuchel.

The Ligue 1 champions moved up to second thanks to Lille's defeat to Angers, but are three points behind leaders Lyon.

Saint-Etienne capitalised on Idrissa Gueye's mistake to take the lead, but Moise Kean's eighth league goal of the season cancelled out Romain Hamouma's opener.

Denis Bouanga hit the crossbar for Saint-Etienne after the break, while Kean snatched at a good chance and Angel Di Maria forced Jessy Moulin into action with what was PSG's only shot on target in the second half as the spoils were shared on Wednesday.

"I am happy with the efforts of the players," Pochettino told Telefoot. "We've been trying since our first day to set up different concepts. 

"I'm happy with their efforts, their attitude. It's only the beginning. They have to adapt to us [the staff] and we have to adapt to them. There is work to be done to get to know each other better.

"We have to improve in several situations, especially with the ball, but it was difficult because the preparation has was very short.

"I am disappointed, because we are PSG and we want to win. But we didn't have a lot of time to prepare for the match.

"We still have a lot of things to improve, to develop. This is not the result that we wanted."

Paris Saint-Germain failed to get off to a winning start under Mauricio Pochettino as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1.

Thomas Tuchel oversaw a 4-0 defeat of Strasbourg in PSG's final game of 2020, although it was not enough for the German to keep his job as the defending champions sat third.

And Pochettino was unable to mastermind a victory to kickstart his reign as a rather lethargic PSG struggled to build on Moise Kean's 22nd-minute equaliser.

That goal cancelled out Romain Hamouma's opener, but PSG were ultimately fortunate Saint-Etienne did not snatch a first win over the capital club since 2012, their point enough to move second but three points behind Lyon.

Both goalkeepers were called into action inside the opening 10 minutes as Keylor Navas denied Harold Moukoudi at one end before Moise Kean tested Jessy Moulin at the other.

Yet Pochettino's tenure had its first setback 19 minutes in when PSG played themselves into trouble, Idrissa Gueye's slip pounced on by Denis Bouanga, with Hamouma supplying a neat finish over Navas.

PSG hit back inside three minutes, however, as Marco Verratti played in Kean to slam in the first goal of the Pochettino era on the turn.

Mathieu Debuchy's low strike forced Navas into a smart stop before half-time, and PSG's goalkeeper came to their rescue again in the second period, blocking Bouanga's path to goal.

Navas was beaten with 20 minutes remaining, but the crossbar kept out Bouanga's header.

Kean snatched at a good chance as PSG sparked back into life, yet Angel Di Maria's low strike – well saved by Moulin – was the only shot on target the visitors managed in the second half as Pochettino was forced to settle for a point.

Neymar remains unavailable for Mauricio Pochettino's first match in charge of Paris Saint-Germain, though the new coach has called up 17-year-old Xavi Simons to be a part of the squad.

Following over a week of strong speculation, former Tottenham boss Pochettino was finally appointed by PSG on January 2, replacing Thomas Tuchel after his dismissal.

Tuchel had been shown the door despite leading PSG to last season's Champions League final, which the German also guided them through this season despite a tricky group.

But the club were reportedly concerned about his capability of getting them past Barcelona in the next round, while he had also engaged in a public spat with sporting director Leonardo over transfers.

Pochettino signed on until the end of next season and his first game in charge is at Saint-Etienne on Wednesday, with PSG hoping a win takes them back to the Ligue 1 summit.

They will have to continue to make do without Neymar, who in December was ruled out until this month with an ankle injury.

PSG are yet to confirm when exactly they expect the Brazilian to return, though the trip to Les Verts has come too soon.

Pochettino earned a reputation at Spurs and Southampton for trusting young players, and he has named several teenagers in his first squad with the Parisians as well.

While Kays Ruiz, Bandiougou Fadiga and Timothee Pembele all made Ligue 1 appearances under Tuchel, Simons did not.

A Netherlands youth international signed from Barcelona in 2019, Simons has long cultivated a keen following online through his social media activity and relationship with Nike.

Throughout his teenage years he has been linked with many of the world's biggest clubs, having been regarded highly at Barca, but it is at PSG where the technical midfielder appears primed to make a breakthrough.

The youngster was named in two Ligue 1 matchday squads earlier this season, though the most recent was in October and he is yet to make his official debut for the club.

Mauricio Pochettino's first news conference as Paris Saint-Germain coach was dominated by questions about a player every club in the world dreams of having.

But Pochettino was not interested in discussions about Lionel Messi, the Barcelona star who is out of contract at the end of the season and free to talk to other clubs this month.

Instead, he is solely focused on the task in front of him, getting the best out of one of the elite squads in European football after receiving a late Christmas present of a return to a club he once graced as a player.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Saint-Etienne, Pochettino - who officially replaced Thomas Tuchel on Saturday - said: "Father Christmas has already given me a gift, this fantastic club.

"It is incredible for us and it is the chance for me to fulfil a dream by rejoining the club where I played 20 years ago. We are very aware that it is a huge challenge and there are huge demands at PSG."

The former Tottenham boss batted off several questions about Messi, with transfer talk not high on the agenda as he looks to make a winning start to his reign at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

"We have been trying to adapt to a new club and we have had to prepare for tomorrow's game, which is the principal objective of winning tomorrow," he added. 

"We have time to talk like that in the future. Any big player in the world, I think, will always be welcome at Paris Saint-Germain."

Messi has been consistently linked with a move to the Parc des Princes, with speculation further fuelled by PSG star Neymar expressing his desire to reunite with his former Barca team-mate.

For Pochettino, though, his immediate task is to get the best out of both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, France's World Cup-winning hero the top scorer in Ligue 1 this season with 12 goals.

"Over time, as I work with the squad, we will find the position where he can perform at his best," Pochettino said of Neymar.

"The big player like Kylian can play in different spaces on the pitch. The most important is how he is going to feel on the pitch and how he is going to attack the space.

"Our aim and our challenge is to put them in the best position and in the best situation where they can be decisive. That is the most important challenge for us and for our coaching staff."

Saint-Etienne will aim to stop one of the most feared forward lines in the world hitting the ground running under Pochettino, with Les Verts boss Claude Puel a familiar face to Pochettino.

Former Southampton and Leicester City manager Puel has faced Pochettino six times, with the Argentinian victorious in all but one encounter.

Still, Pochettino expects a testing start to his reign, saying: "We have faced each other in England so it will be a tough game. We are very excited to get our time in France under way."

Mauricio Pochettino accepts he is under pressure to succeed at Paris Saint-Germain and has warned the club's superstar players they must prove they deserve to wear the shirt. 

The 48-year-old, out of work since leaving Tottenham in November 2019, was finally confirmed as Thomas Tuchel's successor at the Parc des Princes on Saturday. 

Former Spurs, Southampton and Espanyol boss Pochettino has signed a contract with the Ligue 1 champions until June 2022, including an option for a further year. 

Pochettino is returning to the club where he spent two and a half seasons as a player, during which time he lifted the Intertoto Cup in 2000-01. 

PSG are accustomed to winning silverware on a far more regular basis these days and the Argentine coach is well aware of the high standards expected of him and his squad. 

"I am very happy to be here. It's a great opportunity, the project is incredible," he told his new club's official website. "Being able to be involved in Paris Saint-Germain on a daily basis is something great. 

"I can't wait to rebuild this relationship I already have with the supporters. I have always had a good relationship with them after my time here as a player. 

"Paris is one of the biggest clubs in the world, and in a club like this, victory alone doesn't count - you have to win of course, but with a certain style.  

"The players are some of the best here; they are the main players and they have to love what they do on the pitch, that's a very important aspect. 

"The demands and expectations are high. I like it when the relationship is almost a friendship between the players and the entire staff.  

"And I want all of the people who are involved with the club, stadium and training centre to feel like a part of this project. 

"There has always been a tradition of excellence in this club - the players must deserve to wear this jersey.  

"I think the current squad is amazing. I think we can accomplish what the club want, and what the players want, because they are competitors who want to lift trophies." 

Pochettino, previously linked with Real Madrid and Manchester United, was sacked by Spurs after five impressive years in charge in north London. 

He succeeds Tuchel with the aim of continuing PSG's domestic dominance and going one step further than last term's runners-up finish in the Champions League. 

In order to achieve that, though, the new boss acknowledges the importance of first uniting everyone at the club. 

"Our main goal is to get everyone to pull in the same direction," he said. "We want to put in place a mentality, a game philosophy, and that everyone adheres to it.  

"The idea is that everyone should want to win for the club above all else. We want to be a strong club, with a strong structure.  

"When everyone, from the players to the staff, to the management, experiences the same emotions, it's something magical." 

Pochettino's first game in charge will be Wednesday's league trip to Saint-Etienne, with PSG aiming to bridge the one-point gap on top two sides Lyon and Lille.

Mauricio Pochettino is back in management. Over a year after leaving Tottenham, the Argentine coach has landed one of Europe's biggest jobs.

Paris Saint-Germain appointed Pochettino as Thomas Tuchel's replacement on Saturday, and the new boss is sure to have ideas about players he would like to join him.

PSG have been hit by a run of injuries this season, with Neymar currently sidelined with an ankle problem.

Their owners are no strangers to big-money purchases, though the coronavirus pandemic has made all of Europe's big clubs take stock and rein in their spending.

But who could be the likely candidates to join PSG under Pochettino?

Christian Eriksen

Eriksen played some stellar stuff at Tottenham under Pochettino. Indeed, in 191 Premier League appearances during the Argentinian's tenure, the former Ajax prodigy scored 43 times and provided 53 assists.

A set-piece specialist, it is somewhat surprising that only six of Eriksen's goals came directly from free-kicks, from 99 attempts.

He created 493 chances, with 64 of these counting as big opportunities, while he averaged a goal every 370 minutes and hit the woodwork on 17 occasions.

However, even in the latter days of Pochettino's time at Spurs, Eriksen was making noises about wanting to leave and, with six months remaining on his deal, he was sold to Inter last January.

It is a move which has far from paid off, and Eriksen has made just 12 Serie A starts for Antonio Conte's team. In December, Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta confirmed the Denmark international had been placed on the transfer list.

"I can confirm that Christian Eriksen is on the transfer list," Marotta told Sky Sport Italy. "He's going to leave in January. He's not functional to our plans and he had difficulty here at Inter. I think it's right that Christian goes away to find more space."

PSG had been tentatively linked with him prior to Pochettino's arrival, and a reunion with his former manager could be just the tonic for Eriksen.

Dele Alli

Another player who had been mooted as a target for PSG is Eriksen's former Spurs team-mate Alli.

Having signed from MK Dons in 2015, Alli transformed into a Premier League sensation and England regular under Pochettino's guidance.

He made 123 league starts for Pochettino, averaging a goal every 243 minutes, scoring 44 times in total and creating 203 chances, including 29 assists.

Despite a bright start under Pochettino's replacement Jose Mourinho, Alli has been out in the cold this season, starting just one league game – on the opening weekend, in a defeat to Everton – and scoring just two goals, both of them coming in the Europa League.

With a place in England's squad for next year's European Championship looking doubtful, Alli may well be on the move next month, and linking up with Pochettino would surely help revive his career.

Alli said in 2017 that he saw the coach as a father figure.

Lionel Messi

Former Espanyol defender and manager Pochettino recalled in 2018 that Messi was agonisingly close to joining Barcelona's cross-city rivals in 2005, only for a suggested loan move to break down.

Messi has gone on to win six Ballons d'Or, 34 major trophies and even surpass Pele's haul of 643 goals at a single club, as well as set countless other records.

Pochettino has made no secret of a desire to work with his compatriot. At PSG, the stars may finally align.

Messi reluctantly elected to stay at Barca for this season and see out the remainder of his contract, but he is set to become a free agent at the end of the campaign, assuming the new president cannot persuade him to sign a new deal.

Any deal would be far from cheap, but with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on board, the lure of Paris and Pochettino could be decisive for Messi.

A Blaugrana legend, Messi could lead PSG's push for Champions League glory and prove he is far from close to the end of his career – much like the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo has done at Juventus, albeit without a European crown so far.

A front three of Neymar, Mbappe and Messi would set Europe alight, and perhaps finally earn Pochettino the success his work has deserved.

New Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino says he is honoured to take charge of "some of the world's most talented players".

The former Tottenham boss signed a contract until June 2022, which includes an option for a further year, with the Ligue 1 champions on Saturday.

Pochettino replaces Thomas Tuchel, whose dismissal was finally confirmed on Tuesday after reports of his sacking initially emerged on Christmas Eve.

After his appointment was confirmed, Pochettino discussed his pride and ambition after returning to the club he played for between 2001 and 2003.

The prospect of managing the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe was one about which he was already excited.

"I am really happy and honoured to become the new coach of Paris Saint-Germain," Pochettino, 48, told his new club's website

"I would like to thank the club's management for the trust they have placed in me. 

"As you know, this club has always held a special place in my heart. I have wonderful memories, especially of the unique atmosphere of the Parc des Princes. 

"I return to the club today with a lot of ambition and humility, and am eager to work with some of the world's most talented players. 

"This team has fantastic potential and my staff and I will do everything we can to get the best for Paris Saint-Germain in all competitions. 

"We will also do our utmost to give our team the combative and attacking playing identity that Parisian fans have always loved."

PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi felt the appointment meant Pochettino had returned to his footballing home.

"We are very pleased to welcome Mauricio Pochettino as first team coach," he said.

"I am proud to see our former captain returning to Paris Saint-Germain, as the club has always remained his home. 

"The return of Mauricio fits perfectly with our ambitions and it will be another exciting chapter for the club and one I am positive the fans will enjoy. 

"With the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino, Paris Saint-Germain is committed to continue to build and move the club forward over the coming years."

Pochettino, previously linked with the Real Madrid and Manchester United jobs, was sacked by Spurs in November last year after five impressive years in charge in north London.

Although he failed to win a trophy, he turned Spurs into regular top-four contenders and Premier League title hopefuls, while taking them to the Champions League final in 2019, where they lost to Liverpool.

Tuchel was sacked after an inconsistent start to the 2020-21 season despite having guided PSG to their first Champions League final in August, where they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich.

PSG are third in Ligue 1, one point behind leaders Lyon, while Barcelona will be their last-16 opponents in the Champions League next month.

Pochettino's first game in charge will be on Wednesday, when PSG play away to Saint-Etienne in the league.

Paris Saint-Germain have appointed Mauricio Pochettino as their new head coach.

The former Tottenham boss has signed a contract until June 2022, with the option for a further year, with the Ligue 1 champions. He will replace Thomas Tuchel, whose dismissal was finally confirmed on Tuesday after days of speculation.

The German was sacked after an inconsistent start to the 2020-21 season despite having guided PSG to their first Champions League final in August, where they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich.

Defeats in this season's group stage to Manchester United and RB Leipzig had put Tuchel under pressure, although he was able to lead his side into the last 16 after winning their final three games.

However, there were suggestions PSG's hierarchy had concerns about Tuchel's ability to guide his team past Barcelona in the knockout phase.

Four defeats in 17 Ligue 1 matches, leaving PSG a point behind leaders Lyon, also counted against Tuchel, while a public spat with sporting director Leonardo over transfers appeared to weaken his position further.

Pochettino, previously linked with the Real Madrid and Manchester United jobs, was sacked by Spurs in November last year after five impressive years in charge in north London.

Although he failed to win a trophy, the former Espanyol and Southampton boss turned Spurs into regular top-four contenders and Premier League title hopefuls, while he took them to the Champions League final in 2019, where they lost to Liverpool.

After taking charge in 2014, Pochettino led Spurs to four top-four finishes in five full seasons, twice the number they managed in their previous 22 Premier League campaigns.

He reached 100 wins in the competition in 197 games, the sixth quickest in history alongside Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish.

However, Spurs' domestic form suffered badly in 2019 as they tallied 18 defeats in all competitions from January 1 to November 19, when Pochettino was dismissed.

Pochettino has won admirers throughout his coaching career for getting his teams to adopt high-pressing and attacking football, qualities which have become demands of PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi in recent seasons.

When Tuchel was appointed in 2018, Al-Khelaifi said: "He abides by very strong principles of playing spectacular and clinical football that has always been the foundation of German football, especially on the international scene.

"His competitive spirit, his preference for attacking football and his strong character are in line with what we have always wanted for PSG - this style that our loyal supporters have always demanded and admired."

Paris Saint-Germain have used the mid-season break to replace Thomas Tuchel with Mauricio Pochettino, and the new head coach has some big issues to contend with.

A 4-0 win over Strasbourg before the mid-season break was not enough to spare Tuchel, who was relieved of his duties after two and a half years at the helm.

Tuchel left PSG having won six trophies in the French capital, while also taking the club to the brink of a long-awaited Champions League success last term.

PSG ultimately came up short, going down 1-0 to a dominant Bayern Munich in the final.

Tuchel remained in place for the new season but was only been able to guide the club to third in Ligue 1, with the Parisians losing four of their 17 matches.

Pochettino spent over two years with PSG in his playing days and was picked to take over the reins at the Parc des Princes, signing a contract until June 2022 with an option for a further year.

Here are the major issues Pochettino must contend with.

 

ASSERT LIGUE 1 DOMINANCE

While the Champions League is clearly the be-all and end-all for PSG's Qatari owners, the bedrock of their success is domestic supremacy.

Over the past eight seasons, PSG have only failed to win the Ligue 1 title once – during Unai Emery's first season in charge, when a Kylian Mbappe-inspired Monaco charged to glory.

Tuchel had little trouble in claiming back-to-back championships, albeit last season's Ligue 1 campaign was curtailed in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, with the congested nature of 2020-21 making life tough for all of Europe's biggest teams, PSG find themselves point behind joint-leaders Lille and Lyon, the latter of whom recently claimed their first league win at Parc des Princes since 2007.

It is hardly an unassailable gap, though the first task for PSG's new head coach will be to return to the top of the pile, while defending their Coupe de France crown will also provide another chance for a trophy.

SECURE THAT ALL-IMPORTANT CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Ultimately, any coach at PSG is judged on their success – or lack thereof – in Europe.

Tuchel pushed PSG further than any other coach has in the Champions League since Qatar Sports Investments' takeover, but it was still not enough to stop Hansi Flick's Bayern completing an incredible treble.

PSG were inconsistent in this season's condensed group stage, losing at home to Manchester United and away to RB Leipzig, before a 3-1 win at Old Trafford and a 5-1 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir secured their place in the knockout stages.

Ronald Koeman's iffy Barcelona team await in the last 16, and there has arguably never been a better time to face the Catalan giants in Europe – although Bayern's 8-2 rout back in August may suggest differently.

Crucial to any push for silverware in UEFA's elite club competition will be getting the best out of Neymar and Mbappe. The latter missed some big chances in last season's final, and only against Basaksehir did he end a year-long run without a Champions League goal (nine games).

KEEP NEYMAR AND MBAPPE, AND THROW IN MESSI FOR GOOD MEASURE

PSG's sporting director Leonardo has confirmed contract discussions are underway with Neymar and Mbappe.

France star Mbappe has already scored 104 times across all competitions for PSG, though Real Madrid and Barca have regularly been touted as suitors – then again, which of Europe's elite clubs would not want the 22-year-old in their ranks?

Neymar, meanwhile, has consistently been linked with a move back to Barca, but that transfer is looking increasingly unlikely.

Indeed, the prospect of the Brazil superstar linking up with Lionel Messi once more seems much more likely to occur in Paris than at Camp Nou.

Messi begrudgingly decided to stay and see out the remaining year of his Barca contract but has started to hit better form again – he has scored six times in his past eight league games to surpass Pele's record of 643 goals for one club.

Koeman believes Messi is happy at Barca, but as it stands the 33-year-old is set to become the most highly sought-after free agent in history at the end of 2020-21.

While it was Manchester City and Pep Guardiola who were credited as frontrunners in the close season, PSG's owners certainly have the ambition – and funds – to make a transfer come to fruition, and it may well be down to the coach to swing Messi towards Paris, rather than the Premier League or a Barca extension.

Pochettino has previously spoken of his desire to work alongside his compatriot, and it may well be a perfect match.

A sliding doors moment kept Mauricio Pochettino and Lionel Messi apart in 2005. But 15 years later, their paths could well realign at Paris Saint-Germain.

Back when Messi was in the embryonic stages of a Barcelona career that has seen him win six Ballons d'Or, 34 trophies and score a world record 644 goals for a single club, a temporary switch to cross-town rivals Espanyol was mooted.

There he would have linked up with an uncompromising defender by the name of Pochettino, and the subsequent decade and a half could have turned out very differently.

"I remember that summer, he was so close to moving to Espanyol," Pochettino said ahead of Tottenham facing Messi's Barcelona at Wembley in a Champions League clash in October 2018.

"If he did, maybe he could have been the biggest star in Espanyol. We should be the Barcelona! He would have been my team-mate and maybe I would still be in Espanyol managing him."

It only would have been a loan move, but an 18-year-old Messi convinced Barca he was ready for a more prominent role in the team by producing a stunning display in a victory over Juventus in the Joan Gamper Trophy.

Fabio Capello was in the opposition dugout at Camp Nou and after 25 awestruck minutes, he approached his counterpart Frank Rijkaard to ask if he could take the Argentine wonderkid on a temporary deal.

Barca finally realised they had a generational talent on their hands and opted against letting him go.

"I'd started to hear about Messi when I was an Espanyol player – this small guy playing in the Barcelona academy, who had arrived from Argentina when he was 13," Pochettino said.

"And then I heard he was very close to signing for Espanyol. But because he was so fantastic in the Joan Gamper against Juventus and Fabio Capello praised him afterwards in the press conference, Barcelona changed their minds. They kept Messi at Barcelona."

2030 vision

Messi began his youth career with Newell's Old Boys in 1994 – the same year Pochettino left the club for his first stint with Espanyol – and has often been linked with a return to the Rosario side to end his playing career.

Pochettino has been out of work since being sacked by Tottenham in November 2019 and was reportedly approached by Barcelona to replace Ernesto Valverde two months later, but his request for more time to consider the offer due to his loyalties to Espanyol resulted in Quique Setien getting the job instead.

Still, Pochettino retained hope that he will still have an opportunity to join forces Messi.

"I want to return to Newell's with Messi," he told Radio del Plata last March. "I can still wait, [for an opportunity] and the best [possible scenario] would be in 10 years with Messi."

But with PSG's decision-makers showing minimal festive cheers by firing Thomas Tuchel on Tuesday, Pochettino has been gifted a potential opportunity to work with Messi far sooner.

Pochettino was on Saturday named as the successor to Tuchel. Sporting director Leonardo and president Nasser Al Khelaifi will no doubt hope his appointment helps tempt Messi to forego a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and relocate to Paris when his Barcelona contract expires at the end of the season.

"He's one of the gods of football"

Pochettino may not have won a trophy with Tottenham, but he led them to four straight top-four finishes in the Premier League.

His crowning achievement was steering them to the 2019 Champions League final, which ended in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Spurs finished behind Barcelona in the group stage that season. Messi scored a double in a 4-2 win for the Blaugrana at Wembley, while a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou saw Pochettino's men edge Inter to the runners-up spot in Group B.

After Spurs lost the first leg of their semi-final to Ajax 1-0, Pochettino urged his team to play like Messi during the second leg in order to have another chance of taking on the Barcelona captain in the final.

"He's one of the gods of football. It's unbelievable, it's unbelievable. It's unbelievable, the desire and the capacity to fight with the ball at his feet, to fight without the ball at his feet," said Pochettino.

"What happens when he touches the ball? When he doesn't have the ball, it's unbelievable the character, how he presses, how he works for the team. If we play like him, for sure we are going to have a chance. Of course.

"But not like him doing what he does with the ball. If we play like him without the ball, with the desire that he showed, for sure we are going to have a chance to qualify for the final. If not no chance."

Should Pochettino's desire to work with "one of the gods of football" at long last become reality, together they will be expected to help PSG finally conquer their Mount Olympus: winning the Champions League.

Paris Saint-Germain have appointed Mauricio Pochettino as their new head coach.

 

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the sacking of head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Tuchel's departure was reported on Christmas Eve, but there was no official word from the Ligue 1 champions until Tuesday morning.

PSG have now released a statement confirming Tuchel has departed after "an in-depth analysis of its sporting situation."

Ronald Koeman claimed it will make no difference to Lionel Messi's Barcelona future if Mauricio Pochettino takes over at Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi has been linked with a move away from Camp Nou ever since he expressed a desire to leave the club in August 2020, only to decide to stay until at least the end of this season when his contract expires, having been unable to force a transfer.

In a recent interview with Spanish television channel La Sexta the Argentina forward said he "did not know" what he was going to do but suggested he would like to play in the United States at some point.

With former Tottenham boss and compatriot Pochettino heavily tipped to become the new coach at PSG it has been suggested Messi and the Ligue 1 club could be a good fit, particularly with Neymar keen to reunite with his old team-mate.

But Barcelona head coach Koeman does not think there is an automatic correlation between the two.

"I do not know if it is true about Pochettino to PSG," Koeman told a media conference on Monday. "If Messi decides his future, it will not depend on a coach.

"I did not see the [Messi] interview live, but I have seen it. I have always been calm with Messi and I will not be calmer because he said that he will decide at the end of the season.

"We'll see what can happen. I appreciate Messi's words because he is a very important player for the club and for football. 

"Anyone likes to speak well of oneself. I'm still the same. I try to move the team forward, it is a year of transition and Messi is key to this process."

Barca are enduring a difficult season in LaLiga and are in fifth spot, eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

Messi will miss his side's LaLiga clash with Eibar on Tuesday while he completes treatment on an ankle injury but Koeman expects him to return from a Christmas break as planned before they face Huesca on January 3.

"Leo had ankle discomfort, that's why we have given him two more days of vacation," Koeman explained. "The doctor has said that after a week without training he will be fine.

"Not having a Messi is big loss due to his quality and effectiveness. We lose a great player."

The Blaugrana are boosted by the return of Ousmane Dembele following the French forward's troubles with a hamstring injury, as Koeman defended his decision to give players more rest time over the festive period.

Koeman added: "Dembele is fine, he has been training with the team for days. In principle he will be called up [to the squad].

"We have three training sessions before Eibar. Sometimes a break is a training session for a player. In such a tight schedule you have to let the players rest. It is no problem that they have four days off."

Thomas Tuchel's tenure as Paris Saint-Germain head coach is all but over.

Tuchel will reportedly be replaced by Mauricio Pochettino, despite leading PSG to Ligue 1 glory last season and the Champions League final.

Can former PSG defender Pochettino help the French giants conquer Europe?

 

TOP STORY – POCH SET FOR PSG

Mauricio Pochettino has agreed terms to take charge of Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Thomas Tuchel's sacking is set to be announced after striking a deal with PSG to leave immediately – the compensation worth €6million, reports Bild.

Former Tottenham manager Pochettino is now poised to return to PSG, where he played between 2001 and 2003.

 

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Diego Costa has requested to leave Atletico Madrid in January, claims Diario AS and Marca. If Costa is unable to depart during the next window, the veteran striker will farewell Atletico on a free transfer at season's end.

Wolves have joined the chase to sign Real Madrid outcast Luka Jovic, says The Athletic. Wolves are keen to bolster their attack following Raul Jimenez's serious injury and Jovic has emerged as a loan option for the Premier League side. Milan have also been heavily linked with the Serbia international.

Georginio Wijnaldum wants time to reflect on Liverpool's contract offer, reports Fabrizio Romano. Wijnaldum is set to become a free agent amid links to Barca.

- The Mirror reports Arsenal are circling for Brighton and Hove Albion full-back Tariq Lamptey should Hector Bellerin depart for Barcelona. Lamptey has been linked to Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

Sevilla are eyeing a January swoop for Marseille star Florian Thauvin, according to Andaluz Estadio Deportivo. Milan have also been tracking the Frenchman.

- Corriere dello Sport says Juventus and Inter remain keen on signing Udinese's Rodrigo De Paul. Meanwhile, Ilbianconeri claims Juve have been offered Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil.

Manchester United remain in contact with Moises Caicedo's agents to sign the Independiente del Valle sensation, says Romano. The 19-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder wants to move to Old Trafford.

Mauricio Pochettino has the personality and expertise to sweep in and make a difference at Paris Saint-Germain, according to a former Argentina team-mate.

It appears a matter of time before Pochettino is announced as the new head coach of the French champions.

Thomas Tuchel has reportedly already been sacked by the club, who have yet to comment on the matter, with former Tottenham boss Pochettino expected to take over.

PSG sit third in Ligue 1 this season after losing four of their 17 matches, but a 4-0 thrashing of Strasbourg on Wednesday has left them only one point behind Lyon and Lille.

Juan Pablo Sorin, who like Pochettino had a playing stint with PSG, says the incoming head coach has exactly the right profile for the job.

Sorin wrote on Twitter: "Pochettino to @PSG_inside? Hopefully!

"Feeling of genuine belonging, very good working with those under him, clear playing style, personality, human relationship with players ... the dream, of course, of [winning] the @ChampionsLeague which was so close this year."

PSG were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich in the delayed Champions League final, which took place in August, but they swept to a domestic treble under Tuchel's leadership last term.

They also have reached the last 16 of the Champions League this season and will face Barcelona for a place in the quarter-finals.

That would be a major early test for Pochettino, particularly given he is a former player and coach of Barcelona's city rivals Espanyol.

He led Tottenham to the 2019 Champions League final, where the north London side were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool.

The Parisians have never won the Champions League, and their Qatari owners are keen to secure the trophy that would confirm the club's place at Europe's top table.

Sorin, who joined PSG in 2003, just as Pochettino was leaving to join Bordeaux, played alongside his countryman in the Argentina national team at the 2002 World Cup.

The apparent move to bring in Pochettino saw praise for the coach come from former Tottenham striker Gary Lineker.

Lineker tweeted: "Mauricio Pochettino is being lined up by @PSG_English. A terrific coach whose only minus is the lack of winning trophies...well that’s about to change."

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